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Summary

The forgotten story of Cecily Neville, duchess of York. A strong woman who claimed the throne for her family in a time of war....

One family united by blood. Torn apart by war....

England, 1459: Cecily, duchess of York, is embroiled in a plot to topple the weak-minded King Henry VI from the throne. But when the Yorkists are defeated at the Battle of Ludford Bridge, Cecily’s family flees and abandons her to face a marauding Lancastrian army on her own.

Cecily can only watch as her lands are torn apart and divided up by the ruthless Queen Marguerite. From the towers of her prison in Tonbridge Castle, the duchess begins to spin a web of deceit - one that will eventually lead to treason, to the fall of King Henry VI and to her eldest son being crowned king of England.

This is a story of heartbreak, ambition and treachery, of one woman’s quest to claim the throne during the violence and tragedy of the Wars of the Roses.

©2020 Anne O'Brien (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"One of the best writers around." (Sun

"A terrific storyteller." (Daily Telegraph)

"This thrilling historical novel has it all - high politics, drama, emotion, excellent writing.... It's a rollercoaster of a read." (Carol McGrath)

What listeners say about The Queen’s Rival

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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A good narrative

I found the flow really spoilt (and rather tedious) by the repetition of each name and full title in each of the letters.

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Queens Rival

Written in the form of third party chronicles and letters . Not my favourite of this author’s books.

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A most informative listen.

A wonderful reading of the life of Cecily, Duchess of York, mother to two English kings.
Although I was aware of Cecily due to interest in the family Plantagenet, listening to her life through some of the most tumultuous times in English history was both informative and interesting. It is so good to hear about those that play a second role, not always given their due place in our history and I found that to be true in this reading.

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  • Mary Lynn Cox
  • 24-05-21

Not a fsvorite

This story had the potential to be a good book. I did not enjoy the format. Most of the was letters and prayers, not an actual story

4 people found this helpful

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  • Ronda
  • 28-01-22

Good

I did like the narrator & the story but much of it is correspondence back & forth. I didn't appreciate the numerous letters but this book is good & the narrator is great!

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 02-07-22

Interesting writing exercise with styles

Mix PAMELA and CLARISSA with late Victorian gossip columns, set them in mid-15th-century England, and you've got a pretty good idea about what to expect in this historical retelling. I'm not sure what O'Brian was envisioning for this, if she planned this as an intriguing writing exercise or as a very important and serious historical fiction novel, but while it didn't always necessarily work for me, I'm very impressed by a master at her craft. I greatly appreciate her sense of historical accuracy, in acknowledging the lack of actual rose symbolism during the Wars of, and I really enjoyed feeling like she had as much fun playing with narrative styles as she did telling Cecily's story. Very enjoyable!

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  • Lorie Coupland
  • 15-06-22

Really Enjoyed the details

I really love the way it was written. The format in the letters I thought was brilliant. So many details were brought forward that I had never heard anyone who loves medieval history will really enjoy this book

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  • Antony Dayal
  • 24-04-22

Living history

I love how the author brings historical figures to life and gives us an understanding of their motivations. A really good listen.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-04-22

This is medieval istorie of a powerful woman

Cecille Neville the Queen that never was wow !
I enjoyed very much as ever there are liberties taking however the base is very plausible. Again a writer have taken time to write and bring to light a life of intelligent power of a true heroine.
The Plantagenet dinasty.








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  • Kathy S.
  • 27-03-22

excellent job

Loved it. It makes you look at the women of history as a mother, wife sister, grandmother...... very entertaining 👏

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  • Sacco_Mom_21514
  • 22-09-21

Fantastic book!

I never realized how much I overlooked in regards to what role the war of the roses truly played in Cecile's life. It's odd as I have read and seen so many different takes on that time in history but never fully appreciated the hardships and travesty's she had to bear. I found myself wishing the book hadn't yet ended. Fantastic writing and narration!

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  • Stephanie
  • 14-08-21

Sorry

I can’t help but say it: just stick with Phillipa Gregory. She isn’t without her sins, but she knows how to tell a story. This is lifeless.